TAYLOR COUNTY—During WV Governor Jim Justice’s press conference addressing the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan also announced that practice for all fall sports would begin on Aug. 17th.
Every sport but volleyball had been scheduled to begin practice on Aug. 3rd. Golf matches can begin on Aug. 24th, while cross country, soccer, volleyball, and cheer can begin competing on Sept. 2nd. The first week of football games can be played starting on Thursday, Sept. 3rd.
Two requirements regarding playoff eligibility in football have been waived for the 2020 season. Teams are not required to play eight regular season games now, nor do they have to play six teams in their classification.
Obviously, one glaring obstacle is that football schedules had already been finalized well before Friday, and the announcement from Dolan eliminated all the Week 1 games. Most teams have now been in the process of finding a tenth game to play.
There were also new requirements listed for football, and more recommendations may be added as the season gets closer.
Notable changes include:
•The coaching box, which currently extends to each 25-yard line, will be stretched to each 15yard line. The sidelines will be limited to “essential” personnel, such as coaches, trainers, and managers.
•Water will be provided in individual containers only and should not be shared. This applies to all other sports as well.
•The length of time between quarters and timeouts will be extended to two minutes.
•The public address system must announce social distancing reminders periodically throughout the game.
Other recommendations include limiting contact practices to one per week, teams meeting in the end zones during halftime instead of in the locker rooms, and players being in partial uniforms while traveling to away games. Bands and cheerleaders have also been asked to not travel to away games.
Modification of pregame meals, limiting the number of people who travel to away games, and reducing the number of teams in tournaments were also mentioned in the all-sports’s section.
COVID-19 temperature checks and screening questions will be implemented as well as the continued use of disinfectants and cleaning agents.
More information can be found at wvssac.org or on the WVSSAC’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.